Washington State Health Department bans vaping products containing vitamin E acetate

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The Washington State Board of Health expanded its recent emergency rule on vaping products, adding products containing vitamin E acetate to the list of banned items.

The agency made the change Monday after new information was released from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) connecting vitamin E acetate and the recent surge in vaping-related lung illnesses.

“We are deeply concerned by a new study finding vitamin E acetate at the primary site of injury in patients’ lungs,” said Secretary of Health John Wiesman. “While we still need more research to identify a definitive cause, the evidence we have linking vitamin E acetate to the outbreak demands immediate action to protect the public’s health. Furthermore, we are very aware there may be more than one cause for these lung injuries associated with vaping.”

Vitamin E acetate is sometimes used as a thickening agent in vaping liquids. No one compound or ingredient has been found in all cases of vaping associated lung injury, and health officials warn that there may be more than one cause of the outbreak.

As of November 15, 2019, fifteen cases of vaping-related illness have been confirmed in Washington.

“Today’s action by the Board of Health to remove vitamin E acetate from the vapor product market in Washington is based on the most current information from the national investigation into severe lung injury associated with vapor products,” said Keith Grellner, chair of the State Board of Health. “The Board knows this investigation is ongoing; as such, we will be monitoring the investigation daily and will be prepared to take further action as we learn more.”

The new section of the emergency rule takes effect as soon as it is filed with the code reviser’s office, and will remain in effect for 120 days. The rest of the rule is still scheduled to expire on February 7, 2020.

The department will continue working with CDC and local health officials to investigate Washington cases of vaping associated lung injury.